Socioeconomic outcome area 3

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are engaged in high quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education in their early years

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Target 3

By 2025, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in Year Before Full time Schooling (YBFS) early childhood education to 95 per cent.

The data below are the most recent at the time of preparing the July 2022 report. Please go to the Dashboard to access the current data.

Nationally in 2021, 96.7 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Year Before Full time Schooling (YBFS) age cohort were enrolled in a preschool program (figure CtG3.1).

This is an increase from 76.7 per cent in 2016 (the baseline year).

Nationally, based on progress from the baseline, the target shows good improvement and is on track to be met. This assessment is provided with a high level of confidence. Please see the How to interpret the data page for more information.Figure CtG3.1. Line chart showing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children in the Year Before Full time Schooling age cohort who are enrolled in a preschool program. Along with these proportions, a linear regression is displayed that shows the data trend for the target and confidence intervals are also displayed around the trend providing an indication of its reliability. The aim under Closing the Gap is to increase the proportion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from a 2016 baseline value of 76.7 per cent to a target value of 95 per cent by 2025.

The assessment below reflects progress from the baseline (improvement, worsening or no change). For the national assessment, the target outcome shows good improvement and is on track to be met.
NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aust
AssessmentImprovementImprovementImprovementImprovementImprovementImprovementImprovementNo changeGood improvement and target on track to be met
Confidence levelHighHighHighHighHighHighHighLowHigh

right arrow improvement rectangle no change left arrow worsening not applicable as required data not available. tick good improvement and target on track to be met. circle improvement but target not on track to be met.

Note: These assessments of progress are provided with a ‘High’ or ‘Low’ level of confidence. An assessment reported with a High level of confidence is considered to be more reliable than one reported with a Low level of confidence. Please see the ‘How to interpret the data’ page for more information.

Disaggregations

By sex

Nationally in 2021, a similar proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys in the state-specific YBFS age cohort (96.8 per cent) compared to girls (96.4 per cent) were enrolled in a preschool program (figure CtG3.2). The proportions have increased at a similar rate for boys and girls since the 2016 baseline year.

Figure CtG3.2. Bar chart showing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the state-specific Year Before Full-time Schooling (YBFS) age cohort who are enrolled in a preschool program in Australia, by sex and by year. Data table of figure CtG3.2 is below.
Data in figure CtG3.2 (%)
201620172018201920202021
Males77.881.687.191.393.196.8
Females75.580.587.891.593.296.4

By remoteness area

Nationally in 2021, the rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged in the state-specific YBFS age cohort who were enrolled in a preschool program, per 100 children aged four years in the community, were highest in inner and outer regional areas and major cities, following increases from previous years (figure CtG3.3). In contrast, rates were lower in remote and very remote areas, and with little change from the 2016 baseline year.

(State and territory rates, by remoteness area, are only available for 2016.)

Figure CtG3.3. Bar chart showing the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the state-specific Year Before Full-time Schooling (YBFS) age cohort who are enrolled in a preschool program per 100 children aged 4 years in Australia, by remoteness area and by year. Data table of figure CtG3.3 is below.
Data in figure CtG3.3 (rate)
201620172018201920202021
Major cities74.379.389.092.391.499.2
Inner and outer regional79.086.992.895.398.1103.2
Remote and very remote82.580.580.681.784.082.4

By Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD) quintile

Nationally in 2016, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged in the state-specific YBFS age cohort who were enrolled in a preschool program, per 100 children aged four years in the community, was highest (90.7 per 100 children) in the least disadvantaged socioeconomic areas of Australia (figure CtG3.4). Children living in the other areas of Australia were enrolled in a preschool program at similar rates across the IRSD quintiles (between 74.1 and 78.3 enrolments per 100  children).

(National rates, by IRSD, are available for 2016 only.)

Figure CtG3.4. Bar chart showing the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the state-specific Year Before Full-time Schooling (YBFS) age cohort who are enrolled in a preschool program per 100 children aged 4 years in Australia, by Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD) quintile and by year. Data table of figure CtG3.4 is below.
Data in figure CtG3.4 (rate)
2016
Most disadvantaged76.4
Second most disadvantaged76.7
Middle 20 per cent78.3
Second least disadvantaged74.1
Least disadvantaged90.7

By disability status

In 2021, the rates of disability were higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a State and Territory government-funded preschool program in the YBFS, than for non-Indigenous children, across the states and territories for which data were available (other than WA, where the rates of disability, by Indigenous status, were similar) (table CtG3A.9).

Target data specifications

Target 3: Increase the proportion of children enrolled in early childhood education

Outcome:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are engaged in high quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education in their early years.

Target:

By 2025, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in Year Before Full time Schooling (YBFS) early childhood education to 95 per cent.

Indicator:

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the state-specific YBFS age cohort who are enrolled in a preschool program.

Measure:

This measure is defined as:

Numerator — the estimated number of children in the state-specific YBFS age cohort enrolled in a preschool program

Denominator — the estimated number of children in the state-specific YBFS potential population

and is presented as a percentage.

Target established:

National Agreement on Closing the Gap July 2020

Latest dashboard update:

30 June 2022

Indicator type:

Target

Interpretation of change:

A high or increasing proportion is desirable.

Data source(s):

Name (numerator): Preschool Education, Australia

Frequency: Annual

Name (denominator): Estimates and Projections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (revised data for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 in the March 2022 Dashboard update).

Frequency: Annual

Documentation (links): https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/education/preschool-education-australia

(The data source for children with disability are State and Territory government department collections.)

Data provider:

Provider name: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Provider area: Preschool education (Demography for population data for remoteness area and socioeconomic status)

(Data for children with disability are provided by State and Territory government departments.)

Baseline year:

2016

This is an existing National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) target. While the official baseline for this target is 2015, data are only comparable from 2016 onwards (see Data quality considerations).

Target reporting period:

2021

Target year:

2025

Disaggregations:

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status, by sex

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status, by remoteness area

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status, by Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD) quintile

State and territory and Australia, by Indigenous status, children with disability

Computation:

Numerator divided by Denominator multiplied by 100

For remoteness and socioeconomic status, data on the number of children in the YBFS cohort are not available and therefore the 4-year-old population is used as a proxy to calculate rates.

Counting rules

The state-specific YBFS age cohort is an estimate of a single year cohort for the population that will transition to full time schooling in the following year. The state-specific YBFS definition uses the preschool and school age entry provisions of the state or territory in which the child usually resides. See Preschool Education, Australia methodology (http://www.abs.gov.au/methodologies/preschool-education-australia-methodology/)

Numerator (all):

  • Australian totals include all states and territories (including Other Territories).

Numerator (Indigenous status, sex):

  • Counts by Indigenous status include a share of children enrolled with a ‘not stated’ Indigenous status (in proportion to the ratio of children enrolled with known Indigenous status). Proportions are calculated from non-rounded counts.
  • Excludes counts of children aged 4 and 5 years of age in the state-specific cohort who are enrolled in school (early starters).

Numerator (disability):

  • Counts exclude preschool programs funded by the Australian Government only (for example, preschool programs delivered in centre based care funded via the child care subsidy) (data by disability status not available)

Denominator (Indigenous status, sex, remoteness, socioeconomic status):

  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is calculated from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates and projections (series B).
  • The non-Indigenous population is calculated by subtracting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population from the total population).

Denominator (remoteness and socioeconomic status)

  • Counts include children aged 4 years (the estimated number of children in the state-specific YBFS potential population are not available by remoteness or socioeconomic status). For estimates of the population aged 4 years, by remoteness: for 2017–2021, only national data are available for the remoteness areas ‘major cities’, ‘inner and outer regional areas’ and ‘remote and very remote areas’. For estimates of the population aged 4 years, by IRSD quintile: only national data are available for 2016.

Disaggregations:

  • Sex refers to a person's biological characteristics. A person's sex is usually described as being either male or female, but may be recorded as ‘other’. See Person—sex, code X (aihw.gov.au)
  • Remoteness area is classified according to the ABS 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (see ASGS: Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2016 (see abs.gov.au) using SA1 as the building block.
  • Socioeconomic status of the locality is classified according to the ABS Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA): Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD), 2016 (see abs.gov.au) using SA1 as building block. Data are reported by IRSD quintile that are determined at the Australian level and exclude children with unknown or unavailable SEIFA score.
  • Disability is defined and counted differently across jurisdictions (see table CtG3A.9 footnotes).

Data quality considerations:

Data for Preschool Education, Australia are collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC). Data are not fully comparable over time, or across jurisdictions, due to differences and changes in coverage and methodologies. See Preschool Education, Australia methodology (http://www.abs.gov.au/methodologies/preschool-education-australia-methodology/) for a description of the data collection methodologies and quality declarations.

Data values have been randomly adjusted using perturbation to avoid the release of confidential data. Discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Methods for the identification of Indigenous status vary by jurisdiction. For data supplied via the Australian Government's child care subsidy system (CCSS), children of families who choose not to identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander are classified as ‘non-Indigenous’ rather than ‘unknown/not stated’. Nationally in 2021, YBFS preschool enrolments with a ‘not stated’ Indigenous status were 0.3 per cent of all YBFS preschool enrolments. (Tasmania had the largest proportion with 2.8 per cent, followed by SA with 2.2 per cent).

From 2018, and previously from 2016, the ABS improved the approach to data linkage in the NECECC. Improvements were made to the way records were linked (when representing the same child), within data provided by a jurisdiction, or across centre based day care data provided by both the Australian Government and State and Territory governments. These changes reduced over-counts of children enrolled in a preschool program.

Enrolment proportions at the sub-national level (such as state and territory) may exceed 100 per cent for some areas due to the numerator and denominator being from different sources.

The calculation of preschool enrolment rates for this indicator differs to the calculations used for reporting under the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education and the annual Report on Government Services (RoGS). The calculations reported for the National Partnership do not restrict to the year before full time schooling, and the RoGS does not prorate for unknown Indigenous status.

Tasmania and the ACT have relatively small Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations compared to the other states and territories which means year-to-year variability in single year of age populations may be more pronounced. This may result in year-to-year variability of the rate of preschool enrolment in these jurisdictions and should be used with caution.

Disaggregations:

  • Sex: all children have been described as either male or female in the NECECC.
  • Remoteness area: Data are presented as a rate per 100 children aged 4 years and are not directly comparable with the target indicator. Data for the non‑Indigenous population aged 4 years were not available for 2021 (at the time of the June 2022 update).
  • Socioeconomic status of the locality: Data are presented as a rate per 100 children aged 4 years and are not directly comparable with the target indicator.
  • Disability is defined differently across jurisdictions and data are sourced from different data sources to other data for this target. Disability data are not comparable across states or territories nor with the target indicator and other disaggregations.

Future reporting:

Additional disaggregations required for future reporting:

  • Remoteness areas using YBFS population denominators
  • Socioeconomic status of the locality using YBFS population denominators
  • Disability status using comparable definitions across jurisdictions and YBFS population denominators.

Supporting indicators

Contextual information


Material for download

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